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Mapping Identifies Best Targets for Malaria Prevention

from Nature News

A slim but substantial swathe of Africa stands to gain from a new strategy in malaria control. Pre-emptive treatment of children living in regions where the mosquito-transmitted disease is prevalent only during the rainy season could avert 11 million cases and 50,000 deaths a year.

The estimates are based on the world's first guidance on seasonal malaria chemoprevention, issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March. The guidance gives a broad stamp of approval to governments and donors seeking to use anti-malaria drugs as prophylactics in African children, and the analysis pinpoints where the strategy would be most effective, says Brian Greenwood, an infectious-disease physician at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-author of the analysis, which is published today in Nature Communications.

"One-size-fits-all policies, like bed nets, are great," explains Rob Newman, director of the WHO's Global Malaria Programme in Geneva. "But for policies with a number of requirements, we need these sorts of analyses to help policymakers chart the path forward."

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